The Brooklyn Nets’ season was hanging in the balance in Game 5 and their star Kevin Durant played like it. After failing to win a road game in Milwaukee the Nets returned home with the series tied at two games apiece and facing a pivotal Game 5 that would determine who would gain the series lead. With Nets star Kyrie Irving likely being out for the series and James Harden being just a shell of himself with a hamstring injury, all eyes were on the two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player as fans were expecting an archive-worthy game from him.
Durant put on one of the best performances of not only his career but one of the best performances in NBA Playoff history. KD finished with 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists as the Nets secured a 114-108 victory to take a 3-2 lead in their series against the Bucks. Durant is the first player in NBA history to have a playoff game of at least 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists.
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Kendrick Perkins Says Game 5 Was Durant’s GOAT Performance
NBA Analyst Kendrick Perkins was Durant’s teammate during his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2010-2015, so he has had a front-row seat to some of KD’s most iconic performances throughout his career. After watching KD hang 49 on one of the NBA’s most elite defenses, he is convinced that his former teammate had the best performance of his career in Game 5.
“This was Kevin Durant’s greatest performance of his NBA career and he put the Bucks over his lap and spanked them with a leather belt. He did it in every way, form, and fashion. Offensively, we already know that he’s one of the greatest scorers of all time. But the way he was able to facilitate for others, get Jeff Green involved, get Bruce Brown involved,” Perkins said via ESPN.
“He anchored the defense. He anchored the defense when they moved him to the five position, he was phenomenal all across the board. And a reminder to all the folks in the world today, last time somebody doubted Kevin Durant, we were in Oklahoma City, they called him Mr. Unreliable and he came out and delivered in great fashion, and he did that again tonight and I’m so happy for him.”
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Harden Sounds off on Decision To Play in Game 5
Another pleasant surprise for Nets fans was the return of Harden into the starting lineup. Before Game 5 Harden had only played a total of 43 seconds in this series, but after the ankle injury that sidelined Kyrie and a series lead on the line, Harden felt he needed to push through the pain and play.
“Game 5, I woke up and was like, ‘let’s go,’” Harden said to reporters after the game per NetsDaily. “I tried to go out there and do the best I can. Hopefully, I gave my teammates some encouragement, some life. Obviously, I wanted to score the basketball and do what I normally do, but it is what it is. We win and we watch film, get our rest and prepare for Game 6.”
The Nets are now 6-0 at home in these playoffs but on the flip, side are just 1-3 on the road. With the increase in injuries in the second round of these playoffs, you can bet that the Nets will be trying to wrap up the series in Game 6 to get a much-deserved rest before the Eastern Conference Finals.